Customer Service Tip of the Week

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

To Assure, Ensure You Do This - 2/9/21


Vince Lombardi – famous professional football coach – became a big hit on the speaker’s circuit during his time coaching.  He applied many of his principles in football and life to business, and one of his great business quotes is:  Confidence is contagious and so is lack of confidence, Read more

Let Your Goal Determine Your Question - 2/2/21


In the early 2000s, when the economy hit the skids, companies realized that they couldn’t take their customers for granted.  They needed to ramp up customer service.  They needed to listen to the Voice of the Customer. During the Great Recession in the 2008-10 timeframe, much of the “new marketing Read more

Excellence is Not Perfection, and that’s OK - 1/26/21


Surveys have questions with ratings that range from Excellent to Poor.  We custom-design and deliver Service Excellence Training.  Tom Peters wrote the book “In Search of Excellence.” But how do you define Excellence, particularly in customer service?  Let’s start with what Excellence is not.  Excellence is not something reflected in Read more

Bring Magic to Your Account Management - 1/19/21


One of our first sports-industry clients was the Orlando Magic.  They were a true leading-edge organization in the early 2000s when it came to dedicating resources to season ticket holder retention.  They didn’t make customer service, relationship-development, and renewals simply a function of the Sales department.  They broke it Read more

Customers Want Easy, but Easy is Difficult - 1/12/21


New employees go through days of training to learn products and services.  They have formal workshops to learn how to use their office applications, web functions, and whatever programs are specific to their department.  They test new technology, and they get quizzed on knowledge of policies.  This is hours Read more

Make 2021 the Year of Building Relationships - 1/5/21


I’ve been very fortunate over this company’s 20+ years in business to have great and long-lasting relationships with many clients, colleagues, business partners, and co-workers.  It’s a gift to be able to call on these individuals for advice or referrals or to be a sounding board.  And it’s just Read more

Bring Warmth During Winter - 12/29/20


Winter is upon us.  Now, winter can mean different things to different people in different regions, but just the word conjures up cold.  It conjures up visions of snow.  It conjures up feelings of wind and lack of warmth. Although some of us may like the cold at times of Read more

2020 Holiday Poem - 12/22/20


When in the role of customer service,We are wired to give and give.It’s built into our DNA.It’s simply the way we live. In order to give to others,We need to find ways to give them their fill.We need to pour empathy and openness into them.To serve, we need to have Read more

Whether You Believe You Can Do a Thing or Not, You Are Right – 8/18/20

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This is a famous Henry Ford quote, and the quote is all about self-belief, all about confidence.

We’ve often spoken about the need to be confident and how to gain confidence, because that confidence – or the lack thereof – is imparted on the customer.

But how does a customer tell if you’re confident?  And why is that important?

As a customer, I’ve been in a situation far too many times when I’m seeking guidance or input.  I’m trying to understand the process or I’m trying to understand a deadline.   If I know the process and the deadline, if I know how they’re going to get to the answer or how they’re going to fix this product issue, my expectations get set.  I have a game plan.  And where there is no game plan, often there is anxiety or worry.

You don’t want your customers feeling anxiety or worry.  And if that anxiety or worry comes from you, then it is attached to your company, and the perception of you and the company is lessened.

As a customer, when I sense that lack of confidence, I’m sensing it because there are long unexplained pauses before answers.  Because there’s a lot of “I don’t know” without a lot of “I’ll find out.”  Because they never say that they can answer that for me or help me with that.  Because I’m put on hold without being told why or am transferred without being told to whom.  Because the voice wavers and there’s a lot of “ummm” and “hmmm.”

So much of that perceived lack of confidence comes from things employees do that they should simply eliminate.

Eliminate the long pauses – keep the conversation going.  Don’t say “I don’t know” unless you follow that up with “I’ll find out.”  If you want to help, don’t avoid saying that you want to or you can help.  Don’t put people on hold or transfer them without letting them know to whom and why.  Don’t provide the unnecessary “ummm” and “hmmm.”

Sometimes saying less conveys more confidence.

Convey your self-belief – your confidence – to your customer.

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Grind it out Today for a Better Tomorrow – 8/11/20

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It’s been said that You Learn Perseverance by Persevering.  You are becoming mentally tougher right now.  The pain and the difficulties and the change today are making you stronger for dealing with the uncertainties of tomorrow.

We’re all having to be more flexible.  We are all facing less consistency, less predictability.  Work processes are different.  Customers are different.  Expectations of us are different.  Communications with teammates are different.  And for many, our personal lives and those of our loved ones are very different.

In the future, when we look back on today, we may remember all the difficulties.  We might not remember all the positives, but we will be stronger in the future.  We will be better equipped to deal with the difficulties that come next.  And though work…and life will be difficult again, we will be more prepared – mentally, physically, spiritually – to get through those tomorrows because we got through these todays.

You are building wisdom, strengthening your character, and having experiences that will guide your future decision-making and your direction.  Maybe there are a lot of small defeats today, and maybe some big defeats today, but they can be stepping stones to big joys and victories tomorrow.

So, grind it out today, this hour, this minute.  Persevering through today’s challenges is a victory in itself.  Tomorrow will be there tomorrow; no use worrying about it today.

Persevere through this day.

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Never Before… – 8/4/20

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The importance of customer service is at the forefront again in our economy.  We noticed this clearly in the early 2000s when the country’s economy struggled, and we noticed it again during the Great Recession several years later.  Today, with yet another set of unexpected and extreme economic challenges, companies are fighting to keep customers.  They’re coming up with creative ways to change the customer experience.  They are trying to identify unique opportunities to provide customer service in a way that works best for the customer.

We’re seeing enhanced delivery of services and packages.  We’re seeing the offer from businesses to take products out to customers while they are in the car.  We see employees wearing masks and facilities being sanitized like never before.  We’re seeing acceleration of technology options for customers to browse and to buy and get their questions answered.

But the products themselves remain relatively the same. The services themselves remain relatively the same.  The programs themselves remain relatively the same.

So, what is different?

We’ve always defined customer service as the Attitude (and skills, knowledge) conveyed by employees and the Processes within which the customer experiences the service and the product.  These are the areas where companies are making significant change.  They are improving customer service by improving Attitudes and Processes.

Companies are realizing the importance of retention and the value of the customer more and more, and they are finding different ways to deliver the same product.  They’re more overtly appreciative of the customers they have and those that are taking the steps to stay with the businesses.

There are many lessons learned here, but the one key takeaway is that customer service matters.  Customer service adds value.  Customer service leads to higher retention and sales.  And customer service is about serving the customers in a manner that would work best for the customer.

The keep a customer, find out how to best serve the customer.

Serve like never before.

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